In the long struggle for freedom in South Africa, parts of the church played a major role, even as other parts colluded with the apartheid regime. Few actions in that struggle were more important than the Belhar Confession.
The Old Testament and gospel readings for Epiphany
function as point and counterpoint. Isaiah offers a word of great comfort to
those who have been so long in darkness. Impoverished as the hearers have been,
honor and fortune are on their way. It's a message of rejoicing: the light that
has dawned will make all who see it radiant.
Last year the Equal Justice Initiative documented over 4,000 lynchings of African Americans between 1877 and 1950 in the United States. The nonprofit organization is developing a museum to commemorate the victims. The museum, scheduled to open in April 2017, stands on the site of a former slave warehouse in Montgomery, Alabama. The memorial will contain rows of over 800 concrete columns representing the counties where lynchings took place, with the names of those lynched engraved on the columns. The columns are free-floating, suspended from the ceiling in imitation of hanging (Next City, August 16).